Readers write: Not everyone is 'done' with church; Taiwan as a climate actor

Letters to the editor for the Jan. 11, 2016, weekly magazine.

COURTESY OF DONNA RICE
Kyle Rice fly-fishes in the Snowy Range mountains in Wyoming. He’s left ‘the Sunday morning experience’ of church but not his interest in spirituality.

Not everyone is ‘done’ with church
The Dec. 28, 2015 & Jan. 4, 2016, Focus story, “ ‘Done’ with church, but not with God,” was way too limited to truly give a perspective of churchgoing in the United States. The reporter spoke only to those who are leaving fundamentalist churches. I wish the article had explored the churchgoing habits of Lutherans, Episcopalians, and Methodists. I strongly suspect the reporter would have found worship embracing our “increasingly pluralistic society.”
Kathy Vohland
Corvallis, Ore.

As a retired former pastor of 38 years in five churches, I have some empathy for those who no longer attend the “Sunday morning experience.” Most churches I have known are set-in-their-ways conservative. Pastors and other parishioners who try to encourage thinking outside the box often run into trouble. But a common theme in the article seems to be “I wasn’t fed.” The worlds of those profiled seem to be somewhat narrow – their small community of friends and the good deeds they can do around them. As good and satisfying as this truly is, this limits their degree of effectiveness. Many churches, working together and applying their human and financial resources to big problems, can and do make a difference.
The Rev. Bob Hannum (retired)
Lancaster, Pa.

Include Taiwan in climate pact
Regarding the Dec. 28, 2015 & Jan. 4, 2016, Monitor’s View “Paris pact on climate change: What’s fear got to do with it?”: The United Nations climate talks reached a milestone in Paris when envoys adopted the first accord asking all countries to join the fight against global warming. The new climate accord also states, “Climate change ... requires the widest possible cooperation by all countries.” Regrettably, among the 196 nations that reached the landmark climate agreement in Paris, Taiwan is barred from being recognized as a state – despite the fact that the island nation is one of the leading economies in the world and willing to reduce its carbon emissions proactively. Let Taiwan join the action so that it, too, can contribute.
Kent Wang
Washington

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.